Endless Curiosity

June 18, 2010

We Talk, They Act

Filed under: Economics, Politics, Psychology, Republicans — Alec @ 5:48 pm

I’ve blogged before about the ability of people to vote against their own interests, and after reading George Montbiot’s great article in the Guardian, I decided to write about it again. Montbiot has some interesting perspectives that are worth spending a few brain cells pondering.

The simple idea is that the right wing persuades people to fight for things that either don’t affect them, or indeed, harm them. Sample quote:

[The new conservatism] blames the troubles of the poor not on economic forces – corporate and class power, wage cuts, tax cuts, outsourcing – but on cultural forces…The anger of the excluded is aimed instead at gay marriage, abortion, swearing on television and latte-drinking, French-speaking liberals. The working-class American right votes for candidates who rail against cultural degradation, but what it gets when they take power is a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

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December 1, 2009

The Cowardly Supreme Court

Filed under: Politics, Republicans — Alec @ 8:56 am

I wrote a long blog post about the Supreme Court but it was somehow lost, and I’m not going to rewrite it. So here’s a shorter version.

The Founding Fathers distrusted power – they believed, with Lord Acton, that power corrupts. The whole Bill of Rights (Amendments 1 – 10 for those who have forgotten their civics lessons) was intended to protect individuals against power, especially the power of the State and the majority.

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November 20, 2009

Palin’s People

Filed under: God, Life, Republicans — Alec @ 6:27 am

The fascination with Sarah Palin is fascinating. On a superficial level she’s a phycially attractive woman that lots of male voters probably fantatize about having sex with. But on a deeper level the fascinating reality is that a woman so incoherent, so hypocritical, so lacking in knowledge about the world, and so lacking in curiousity to learn more can be a national phenomenon.

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October 19, 2009

Winning in Afghanistan

Filed under: Politics, Psychology, Republicans — Alec @ 8:06 am

Hawks believe we lost in Vietnam only because we didn’t commit enough troops; because the U.S. population chickened out. Hawks believe we can win in Iraq and Afghanistan if we just apply enough troops, and their big fear is that we will withdraw in unnecessary defeat.

The idea that we can create a new society if we only kill enough people has always been a siren song. But do we really want to rank ourselves with Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (killing one third of the population)? Or with Mao Tse Tung in China (who killed over 70 million people in the Cultural Revolution and The Great Leap Forward)? Or with Stalin in the Soviet Union (who killed over 50 million people in the purges and labor camps)?

I wonder if hawks ever stop to ponder how they and their fellow Americans would respond if the Chinese invaded us, hoping to impose the Chinese flavor of communism on us?

October 10, 2009

Backlash against inherited wealth

Filed under: Economics, Politics, Republicans — Alec @ 7:30 am

With unemployment so high and the dreams of many people crushed, I wonder if there will ever be a populist backlash against inherited wealth.

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October 9, 2009

Why do Republicans diss our Military?

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 7:26 am

The mantra of the right is that government can do no right. Or, in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”.

But I ask myself, what is the most respected institution in America? What institution do we believe is incomparably the best in the world? What institution do all politicians genuflect before?

The answer is the U.S. Military, a huge government run organization with layer upon layer of hierarchy, with massive potential for waste and fraud, and where people are rarely fired for incompetence.

So why do Republicans constantly talk about the inability of government to run programs well when they also believe our government-run Military is the finest in the world?

February 24, 2009

How did we get into this Mess?

Filed under: Economics, Republicans — Alec @ 5:52 am

This financial recession/depression is going to last a long time. I’m sure the stimulus will help, but most people are running scared at this point, thinking more about saving money in case they lose their job than going out and spending money. And of course, spending money is what is needed.

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February 17, 2009

Why couldn’t we have grown-ups in charge?

Filed under: Economics, Republicans — Alec @ 1:21 pm

From Juan Cole: “As Alan Greenspan recently admitted, his conviction that bankers would not steal from us because it would be bad for the bank was naive; I guess that is what comes of never growing out of Ayn Rand when you move into your twenties and later.”

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February 10, 2009

Acting Against their Interests: The Religious Right

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 12:52 pm

Personally, I don’t understand the Religious Right. Well, actually I think I do, and it’s got nothing to do with their professed beliefs.

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February 7, 2009

Acting against their Interests: Republicans

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 4:40 pm

Not only has the current financial crisis shown the bankruptcy of the Republican mantra of tax cuts and less regulation, but it’s also devastated the savings and the purchasing power of tens millions of people in this country, or hundreds of millions of people around the world.

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February 2, 2009

Party first, Country last

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 1:22 pm

As Bill Press points out in a 1/29 post titled GOP Stabs Obama in the Back, Republicans care more about their party than their country.

They can’t stand the idea that Obama might actually fix our ailing economy and get credit for it. They don’t want him to succeed. As right-wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh, the real leader of the Republican Party, recently declared: “I want him to fail.”

You gotta love these people. Or not.

February 1, 2009

The Neros

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 3:22 pm

Remember Nero? The Roman emperor who fiddled while Rome burned? It makes me thing of our Republican politicians, fiddling while the economy burns. In fact, fiddling is a good term because of the massive corruption that went on during the Bush Administration, with no-compete contracts, lobbyists writing bills, and the like. Anything to enrich their masters.

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Republican chutzpah

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 1:55 pm

Well, you have to give the Republicans credit. They may have caused the biggest recession since the Depression, fucked up the lives of millions of Americans, crippled the economies of much of the world, and shown the bankruptcy of their ideas, but they still think they know the answers.

“GOP leaders doubt stimulus bill will pass Senate” is the headline.

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January 30, 2009

How lucky we are that we changed course

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 8:18 pm

On January 25, 2001, five days into the Bush Adminstration, Alan Greenspan testified in the Senate and had some great words to say about the wonderful financial state of the U.S. left by the Clinton Administration. We can thank God that the Bush Administration decided to change direction and follow the course laid out in Greenspan’s ending cautionary note. Think how terrible things would be if we had actually paid of the federal debt before the end of the decade.

But let me end on a cautionary note. With today’s euphoria surrounding the surpluses, it is not difficult to imagine the hard-earned fiscal restraint developed in recent years rapidly dissipating. We need to resist those policies that could readily resurrect the deficits of the past and the fiscal imbalances that followed in their wake.

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Government is NOT the problem

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 5:02 am

Ronnie Reagan was wrong when he said that government is not the solution, government is the problem, although it was a great sound bite. Not only was he wrong, but if you look at more of his speech, it was just plain crazy talk. Here’s the paragraph from from his 1981 Inaugural Speech.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

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January 29, 2009

Republicans are the new Communists

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 12:33 pm

I always wondered why America has such as visceral hatred of Communism. Now I understand. Republicans are the new Communists. In theory, according to Wikipedia, “Pure communism in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of society to participate in the decision-making process in both the political and economic spheres of life.”

In reality, Communist states all tend to consist of a large number of poor people ruled by an elite that has total control over power, and thus over resources and wealth. Which is precisely what has happened in this country when Republicans have managed to implement their policies – witness the devastating movement of wealth and power upwards from the poor and middle classes to the wealthy elite.

Yes, Republicans are the new Communists.

January 28, 2009

F***ing Republicans

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 7:58 am

What is there to say? Bob Herbert says it so much more eloquently than I ever could. Jim Hightower also has comments.

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